The potential risk of unsafe chemicals in foods has generated significant attention on social media in recent years due to growing consumer demands for “clean food” and food safety. Within the United States, the infamous Proposition 65 law in California is responsible for the majority of warning labeling requirements for chemical contaminants, but there has been an upward trend in state legislative proposals related to the risk of certain chemicals in consumer products. In response to this trend, several major food industry associations have joined forces to support a new federal bill titled the Accurate Labels Act, which seeks to impose more stringent scientific criteria for warning labels related to chemicals. If the bill becomes law, it could supersede or undermine the various state labeling requirements for chemical contaminants if the state rules are not grounded in the “best available science.” Continue Reading

The expression “may you live in interesting times” can be both a blessing and a curse. In North America, we are certainly living in interesting, challenging times for the food industry. The trade tariff wars and the uncertain fate of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) may leave companies operating within the United States, Canada and Mexico with a sense of instability. However, despite the political challenges, food safety regulations within North America are evolving in positive ways.

As the U.S. continues the implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), Canada recently unveiled new regulations to implement its Safe Food for Canadians Act (SFCA). Will the new Canadian rules align with the U.S. FSMA regulations to harmonize food safety requirements and streamline trade between the countries? Let’s take a closer look at the most recent developments below. Continue Reading

Supplier verification, as mandated by the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), evokes sentiments such as the Russian proverb “trust but verify” or the expression “don’t buy a pig in a poke.” Food manufacturers are now required to monitor the origins of their ingredients closer than ever before. The FSMA food supply chain program requirements expect food facilities and importers to understand the food compliance history of their suppliers. But should firms also be expected to verify the controls of their suppliers’ ingredient suppliers? Continue Reading

Food industry associations and consumer advocacy groups have influenced the development of many key U.S. food policies and regulations, but the impact of consumer lawsuits upon the regulatory process cannot be denied. Since 2008, the number of class action lawsuits filed against food and beverage companies has increased from approximately twenty to more than a hundred lawsuits annually in recent years. While some of the legal challenges could be dismissed as frivolous, several cases have fueled the evolution of significant labeling and safety regulatory initiatives that are now under consideration by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).    Continue Reading

Would mandatory front-of-pack nutrition labels or a symbol to designate a food as ‘Healthy,’ help curb the incidence of diet-related chronic diseases? Academic and industry research has shown that nutrition information on the front of food packages is more commonly viewed by American adult consumers than the Nutrition Facts panel, which is placed on the side or back of a package. The increased viewing of nutrition information is associated with healthier dietary patterns. While several countries are advancing regulations for front-of-pack (FOP) nutrition labeling schemes, the future of a mandatory FOP system in the U.S. remains uncertain. Continue Reading

Questions about the safety of fresh produce are in the headlines again following recent North American outbreaks involving Salmonella in sprouts, Salmonella in papayas and E. coli O157:H7 linked to romaine lettuce. Moreover, the Produce Safety rule of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) took effect for large farms in January, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) implemented the next stage of its targeted sampling program for fresh produce and related commodities. Continue Reading

A recall is a potential source of anxiety for any food manufacturer, but, if conducted effectively, recalls can be an invaluable tool for protecting a company’s reputation, brand image and sales. However, a recent government study has identified deficiencies in the food recall processes of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which has prompted the agency to propose new policies for improving the oversight, communication and implementation of its recall process.   Continue Reading

Writer G.K. Chesterton once suggested that, “Whenever you remove any fence, always pause long enough to ask why it was put there in the first place.” This advice seems particularly relevant to the current deregulatory environment in the United States. A 2017 Executive Order required federal agencies to eliminate two regulations for every new regulation, which resulted in the withdrawal or delay of 1,579 regulations. How might the removal of positive regulatory initiatives impact food safety, public health and your business in the new year? Continue Reading